Ian Fox in his letter ‘Out of date doctrine’ of February 12, 2021 wondered if Extinction Rebellion had helped design Watford Borough Council’s draft plan for the future of Watford. Indeed we did give input, along with Friends of the Earth, various cycling clubs and other local community groups. He implies the Liberal Democrats are to be disparaged for this action when in fact, they should be commended for their foresight.

Mr Fox says “the Liberal Democrats are stuck in an out of date doctrine that is going to ruin this town”. It is Mr Fox who is actually peddling an “out of date doctrine” of over reliance on the use of petrol and diesel cars and, in his view, an unrealistic deadline of 2030 for Watford to become carbon neutral. Due to the pandemic the world has changed beyond all recognition but the emergency has demonstrated that huge change can happen within a small timescale. For example:

Working from home, therefore reducing the routine need of cars

Switching to online shopping, which has also halted the regular use of cars

Lockdown has also proved that people can leave their cars on the drive and take to their bikes and feet!

On a larger scale, the aeronautical industry has virtually been grounded worldwide.

The pandemic will eventually pass but climate change isn’t going away. So the 2030 deadline to go carbon neutral doesn’t look so “crazy” after all. In fact, it is imperative.

Petrol and diesel cars pollute the air, the local rivers are over extracted (several chalk streams in Hertfordshire have already disappeared) and the Government is overdeveloping the town, putting a strain on the already stretched infrastructure. If we want to improve the air, water and general living quality of the town we live in then we need to take this opportunity together to plan for the future.

Which is why local groups, including Extinction Rebellion, were consulted.

Bennett Denholm

Extinction Rebellion